Some thoughts on the recent JNU event.
Politics can be downright mean and dirty. This we all know. So let’s keep our head and not jump to hasty conclusions.
The Congress – during emergency times and 1984 Sikh riots – was found to be acting downright mean and dirty.
All political parties, playing politics, are suspect to doing dirty business. The CBI recently raided the office of the Delhi Chief Minister; in absolute violation of applicable procedures and norms of law. So much was said by even the CBI special court. The CBI Director directly reports to the Prime Minister. Such a raid could not have been carried out without the active involvement of Modi. This was dirty business on part of BJP; attempting to tarnish a prominent political rival wholly wrongfully.
So let’s be circumspect about the JNU event. If the raid on the office of the Delhi chief minister could be wrongfully engineered; the slogan shouting in question is also quite possible to have been wrongly engineered for political gains.
That’s one aspect of the matter.
The other aspect is this. Let’s assume that the accusations are correct and it is indeed leftist students and leftist activists who shouted anti-India and pro-Pakistan slogans at this JNU event. The said slogans were ugly, objectionable and they hurt. But undertaking arrests on the basis of the said slogans is stupid. Why?
The present Prime Minister is a long-time hard-core RSS man. The RSS swears by its second Chief, M.S. Golwalkar, who headed RSS from 1940 to 1973, when he died. M.S. Golwalkar remains till date the chief ideologue of RSS and is reverently described as Guruji by RSS. A visit to the official website of RSS will show, by far the dominant influence, command and reverence that Guruji elicits and begets from RSS till date.
In his book, “We, Our Nationhood Defined”; M.S. Golwalkar expressed admiration for the race cleansing undertaken by Nazis during World War II and suggested that the same should be followed and adopted in India. The exact words are reproduced below.
“To keep up the purity of the Race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the semitic Races — the Jews. RACE PRIDE AT ITS HIGHEST HAS BEEN MANIFESTED HERE. Germany has also shown how well nigh impossible it is for Races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, A GOOD LESSON FOR US IN HINDUSTHAN TO LEARN AND PROFIT BY.”
The readers are requested to spend some time on the Internet trying to see photographs of the victims of the “race cleansing” by Nazis during Second World War. The mass murder graves, the gas chambers, the horrific medical experiments, the extreme tortures – all in the name of race cleansing – by Nazis of the Jews is so mind-numbing, horrifying in the extreme as to leave one acutely depressed for quite some time after having looked at them.
So by expressing admiration for “race cleansing” by Germany during the Second World War which consisted of such absolutely horrific, torture and killing of Jews by Nazis and advocating the same in India; what was this most favourite guru of RSS propagating?
The nation of India today consists of huge numbers of population coming from different religions and even races. They all together constitute one nation. To propagate aggression against these constituents of the nation; isn’t that anti-national? In fact, it is not only anti-national; but it is anti-human. It advocates and propagates mind-numbing bloodshed in the name of “race cleansing” or whatever that is supposed to represent.
Some years back, in 2006, the RSS has disowned the book “We, Our Nationhood Defined”. This disowning is a sham on the face of it. M.S. Golwalkar himself never – during his long tenure of 33 years as RSS Chief – contradicted his views on “race cleansing” as he wrote in “We, Our Nationhood Defined” and a look at the official website of RSS shows and proves that M.S. Golwalkar – or Guruji as he is called by RSS – by far, remains the dominant shaper of RSS thinking and ideology. Modi himself – in a book titled “Jyotipunj” which he wrote in Gujarati in 2008 – considers M.S. Golwalkar as one of the greatest influences in his life.
But even assuming that after 2006, “We, Our Nationhood Defined” no longer figures in the RSS pantheon of its literature or Bible; it remains undisputed that this book did figure then in the RSS pantheon of literature and Bible before 2006. If that is so, RSS men by ascribing to the prescription and propagation of race cleansing prescribed in “We, Our Nationhood Defined” stand to be guilty – till at least 2006 – of breaking up the nation on grounds of race and religion; and be ipso facto guilty of further more serious heinous crimes by way of propagating and abetting the serious bloodshed that would necessarily follow and accompany such “cleansing”.
Even Prime Minister Modi, by ascribing to “We, Our Nationhood Defined” which formed part of chief ideology of RSS till 2006, would be guilty of anti-nationalist activities and further other serious crimes for a considerable part of his RSS history extending right up till 2006.
Why only Prime Minister Modi? All RSS men – since “We, Our Nationhood Defined” officially formed part of chief ideology of the RSS right till 2006 – would be guilty of anti-nationalist and other serious crimes right till 2006 by virtue of ascribing to such ideology and its propagation.
The point that is being made here is that giving too much importance to the slogan shouting at JNU is highly inadvisable. Firstly, it opens up an undesirable and energy-wasting Pandora’s box. If criminal proceedings are sought to be started against the JNU students in question on the basis of anti-national activities; there would be logic and material sufficient for criminal proceedings against RSS’s adherents also as pointed out above.
The courts when pressed with questions of non-discrimination or equality of treatment; are known to feel the pressure of the same. If criminal charges are sought to be pressed against the JNU students in question on basis of the slogan shouting in question; on the lines of equal treatment and non-discrimination; the courts are bound to take judicial notice of the propagations and slogans of “race cleansing” contained in “We, Our Nationhood Defined” and take action accordingly against the RSS which ascribed at least till 2006 to such provocations and slogans constituting not only anti-national activities, but abatement to serious crimes in connection therewith as noted above.
In fact M.S. Golwalkar’s “A Bunch of Thoughts”, even today, is a chief ideology prescription of the RSS. In this book; the Muslims and the Christians forming integral part of the nation of India are listed as main enemies to be dealt with. Such Muslims & Christians, as said, are integral part of the Indian nation. To call integral constituents of the nation of India “hostiles” and to prescribe and propagate action accordingly; isn’t that breaking up, hurting and wounding the very integrity of India? Isn’t that anti-national?
So let wisdom prevail. Let the energies of the present government not get entangled in unnecessary controversies and let such energy be concentrated and get focused on alleviation of poverty and on the foremost necessities of essential and adequate medical, educational, housing and nutritional needs to the entire masses of our nation. Let’s not waste energy on matters of slogan shouting such as that at JNU – howsoever dis-likable – given the controversies and wastage of energy that it is capable of igniting if witch hunting etc is undertaken arising out of it.
India is far too big and with far too deep roots to be affected in any way by such manner of slogan shouting as at JNU recently. There would always be radicals of such nature as those doing the slogan shouting at JNU and giving unnecessary importance to them would only serve to increase such numbers. India is big enough and deep enough to take these radicals in its stride.
So on an all-round view of the matter, one would suggest that howsoever dis-likeable the slogans may have been at the recent JNU event; one needs to take a larger view and move ahead and concentrate on the most pressing tasks of poverty alleviation and bringing all-round peace, prosperity and development to the nation.
But wait !
Yet there remains another ground, as important as any, for not commencing any witch hunting or chest beating on account of the JNU incident in question.
This ground would be more appropriate to be illustrated with historical reality in the Indian context.
Ashoka, by far the wisest emperor that the subcontinent has known, kept abreast of the affairs in the territories and regions beyond the subcontinent to the reasonable extent possible by sending emissaries and through his Dhammavijaya campaigns. Such emissaries, campaigns and related efforts and interests had the effect of keeping India abreast of the state of knowledge and developments in much of the neighbouring regions and territories; and the legacy – though dwindling gradually – continued through the times of the Gupta Empire.
Sometime by the fifth and sixth century A.D.; the subcontinent’s learning from the neighbouring territories and regions virtually ceased. This was particularly brought about by the increasingly strong Status Quoists of the social order and hierarchy which – with systematic strength and viciousness in such connection – propagated the level of developments et cetera in much of the territories comprising the present day India to be the best in the world with no need to learn or improve further and, ipso facto, most astutely also discouraged and resisted any efforts to learn and develop from foreign territories. In fact, the same can be witnessed right till the present day where the same quarters in the present day India seek to claim that all that stood to be the best and grandest in human wisdom and knowledge stood to have been cornered and garnered by India, if not today, then definitely at some remote time in its distant past.
This strong, vicious and organised resistance to improving or to learning, in such connection, from foreign territories made India fall back considerably in terms of developments in technology abroad and the Indian armies – roughly from the fifth and sixth century A.D. onwards – were defeated by numerically much smaller invading foreign armies repeatedly and numerously on account of much better equipments, weapons, strategies and inventions on part of such invading armies.
India repeatedly suffered, got humiliated and was mutilated and looted for so long on account of its systematic and vicious opposition to any attempt to decry Indian systems, institutions, things and thinking and failure thereby to learn and improve, including that as possible from developments elsewhere. It was largely with the advent of British, whose interference – when protests against Sati, child marriage et cetera were raised – allowed reforms or improvements to be undertaken on the basis of such protests. The modern Indian democracy with its constitution and safeguards has given a system within which to protect protests to the utmost extent possible through freedom of speech and expression et cetera.
Thus let’s not straight away stifle and punish the decry heard at JNU. Let’s think about the decry. On the basis of the nature of the decry at JNU; is there a call, can there be initiatives to improve the situation in Jammu and Kashmir primarily aimed at earning greater goodwill of its residents? At least, to begin with, all this has to be thought about; instead of trying to muzzle and punish the decry heard at JNU. Can on the basis of such decry; howsoever ugly sounding it may at first instance be; is there a need to look at our anti-terrorist laws and undertake inputs in the same so that hangings, when undertaken on the basis of the same, are reasonably convincing rather than otherwise. Can on the basis of the decry heard at JNU; we need to look into the manner in which our police works including investigations into terrorist acts and can there be inputs which give greater reasonableness, depth and efficiency to such investigations?
At first instance; definitely therefore, any manner of decry against the society or the nation – as a general rule – should never be muzzled. Far less be punished. Rather, howsoever ugly and hurting the said decry against the nation and the society may be; it needs to be looked into with an open mind; for here it is often that lie the seeds of greater development and betterment of the society and the nation.
If India historically had a reasonable attitude and approach towards allowing dissent, decry and denouement against its society, institutions, level of technology, developments and all manner of affairs et cetera; India would not have been humiliated, looted, raped and mutilated for centuries so long by numerous foreign invading armies of much smaller denomination. So let’s not keep repeating the same fatal mistake. Let’s allow dissent and decry; howsoever ugly and hurting at first instance they may appear and sound to be. Let’s look into them with an open mind to see if improvements can be undertaken in any subject matter of the state, society, its governance or related institutions or affairs; and then let the same be undertaken – or at least sought to be undertaken – towards better overall strength and improvement of the nation, the society and the individual.
And if after a most sincere introspection and examination of the decry or denunciation in question; there is found no basis whatsoever to the same and no resultant scope of any improvement to be undertaken in anything on the basis of such decry, denunciation or defamation; then still, in order to favour improvements and reforms to be undertaken on the basis of decries or denunciations – howsoever ugly or hurting they may be – muzzling or witch hunting of the persons or entities undertaking the decry or denunciations in question, as a general rule, should be strictly refrained from and, definitely, the JNU decry and denunciation – for the totality of the reasons given – should not give rise to witch hunting, prosecution or punishment.
By Sanjay Kumar Singh at indiaopines blog
The author blogs here.